Is there a metaphor in machine learning for the following concept?

Given a list of ideas, which also has some “pseudo-notation” that may be more harmful than helpful, but I think is helping me: I would like to understand something meaningful about Y. Y seems to me to be dependent upon something about it’s relationship with an unknown, labeled X. Y|~X “Y given unknown entity X” […]

Attention is not directed, it is gathered

Maybe even better, “it gathers”. There is not “a source of attention” that “points” attention somewhere. Rather attention itself gathers in clumps, providing salience as, and of, something that seems like “a coherent group that notices itself”. Attention is the single resource in the universe that can be leveraged to introduce novelty into the system.